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Frits de Vries, Architects & Associates, Ltd.
Architecture and Interiors
Photos courtesy of frits.ca
The black cabin retreat, situated on a one-acre waterfront property in Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia, Canada, was designed by Frits de Vries Architect. The owner, an architect and partner of the aforementioned architectural firm, sought a stress-free escape from urban living. This idyllic getaway is conveniently located just a 40-minute ferry ride across Howe Sound.
The architect created a spacious indoor-outdoor connection within the 1,450 square feet of living space. The home was designed for the owner and his partner, a marine biologist. The pair initially camped on the site to familiarize themselves with the property and plan how they wanted to live when they were there. Spending time on the site informed the overall plan, as they did not wish to lose the sense of discovery that one gets when camping. The geometry of the structure was devised to preserve the excitement of discovering the site for the first time and maximize solar heat gain, with the cabin oriented to face south.
The living spaces and outdoor patio are sheltered from the elements by a gently sloping roof, while a compact guest wing is located on the opposing side, underneath a smaller roof. The dwelling is spread out over a single level and compartmentalized into three living zones that follow the natural topography of the landscape. The structure is clad in black Douglas fir, while second-growth cedar is used for the walls, window frames, and stair treads, all locally sourced. The dark hue of the exterior blends with the woodsy setting, while the lighter interior increases natural light. The beach cove inspired the palette, with bleached driftwood, light gray granite, and the shadows from the trees.